Featured Epicurus's Letter to Menoikeus - A New Translation with Commentary 1.0.0

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An in-depth translation and commentary of Epicurus's Letter to Menoikeus.

This 96-page PDF (version 1.0.0) is an in-depth translation and commentary of Epicurus's Letter to Menoikeus. The name "Menoikeus" is used throughout as opposed to the Latinized (but more common) "Menoeceus." The primary text is the ancient Greek text presented in Cyril Bailey's Epicurus: The Extant Remains (1926).

Please post comments, suggestions, proposed corrections, etc. to THIS thread (which is more easily searchable from the main Home page: The Letter to Menoikeus - A New Translation with Commentary

  • Version 1.0.0

  • @Marco was nice enough to share the following research from a Dutch translation of Diogenes Laertius (DL) written by Prof. Keimpe Algra. @Marco also provided the justifications for Prof. Algra's emendations to the text of DL via Google Translate:


    "As mentioned, one of the reasons for critically checking the translations in this booklet and, where necessary, revising them is the fact that since 1995 two new critical editions of the work of Diogenes Laertius have appeared: Diogenis Laertii Vitae Phi-losophorum by Miroslav Marcovich (Stuttgart 1999) and especially Lives of Eminent Philosophers by Tiziano Dorandi (Cambridge 2013), a work of great erudition and philological acribie, which I have used as a basis for this revised translation. In his introduction, Dorandi himself indicates that he has adopted a conservative attitude when it comes to reconstructing the texts of Epicurus: as editor of Diogenes, his main concern is to get as close as possible to the text as Diogenes must have written (or copied from his Epicurean school edition), using the manuscripts closest to the original, even if, according to Dorandi himself, that text is also not the original text of Epicurus may have been. He restores, in other words, the text of Diogenes, not that of Epicurus. This is understandable from his perspective, but as he himself admits: an editor (or in this case: a translator) of epicurus' text will probably take a less conservative attitude, and try, for example with the help of parallel Epicurean texts, such as Lucretius or Diogenes of Oenoanda, to produce a version of epicurus text that is as comprehensible and responsible as possible. Partly for this reason, I have constructed the Greek text that I have translated differently from the text of Diogenes reconstructed by Dorandi, using, among other things, the emendations of later Epicurus connoisseurs (such as Gassendi and Usener). The main places where I have translated a Greek text other than dorandi's text (indicated by the line numbers of his edition) are shown below (181-182). Below are the deviations from the text of Arrighetti for the Sententiae Vaticanae. Keimpe Algra, May 2020."

    For comparison, here are Prof. Algra's emendations and the one's from Bailey, currently being use for my translation of the Letter to Menoikeus. I'll have to do some more digging to see if these will be incorporated into any revised edition of my translation but felt they were significant/interesting enough to include here as notes. Thanks again, @Marco!

    Algra recommendations: DL 10.1455-1457:

    ἔνθεν ἄι μέγισται βλάβαι τε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἐκ θεῶν ἐπάγονται και ὠφελειαι (based on conjectures of Usener and Leopold)

    Current: Bailey DL 10.124:

    ἔνθεν αἱ μέγισται βλάβαι τε τοῖς κακοῖς ἐκ θεῶν ἐπάγονται καὶ ὠφέλειαι

    Algra recommendations: DL 10.1475-1477:

    ὠς ἀνἄπαυσιν τῶν ἐν τῷ ζῆν (κακῶν αἱροῦνται. ὁ δὲ σόφος οὔτε παραιτεῖται τὸ ζῆν) οὔτε φοβεῖται κτλ. (Usener)

    Current: Bailey DL 10.125:

    ὡς ἀνάπαυσιν τῶν ἐν τῷ ζῆν <κακῶν ποθοῦσιν. [126] ὁ δὲ σοφὸς οὔτε παραιτεῖται τὸ ζῆν> οὔτε φοβεῖται τὸ μὴ ζῆν·

    (Note: Some scholars choose αἱροῦνται as the last word before 126. See Commentary for 125j.)

    Algra recommendations: DL 10.1564:

    πάντων διαγελῶντος (εἱμαρμένην, ἀλλ' ἃ μὲν κατ'ἀνάγκην γίνεσθαι λέγοντος) (Usener)

    Current: Bailey DL 10.133:

    πάντων ἐγγελῶντος <εἱμαρμένην; * * * * * ὦν ἃ μὲν κατ᾽ ἀνάγκην γίνεται>

  • Errata:

    • The "Booth" referenced in the Introduction is actually Randall *Buth.*